Summertime Bass Fishing with George Cochran
Head for the Top
Note: George Cochran of Hot Springs, Arkansas, won the
FLW Championship in 2005. In August, 2006, the FLW Championship
will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, on Logan Martin
Lake. Cochran should feel like Brer Rabbit being thrown
in the briar patch because if there’s ever been
a tournament where Cochran’s the odds-on-favorite,
it will be this year’s FLW Championship. When
the Bassmasters Classic was held on the same lake, Cochran
finished 9th, and he also won the Bassmasters Classic
held on nearby Lay Lake in August, 1996, under extremely-hot
weather conditions. The city of Birmingham has been
good to Cochran’s reputation and his bank account
just about every time he’s fished there. We asked
Cochran how he plans to fish the Dog Days of August
during the FLW Championship when the surface temperatures
will reach over 100 degrees.
Question: When you won the Bassmasters Classic in 1996
in Birmingham, Alabama, what did it mean to you?
Cochran: I’ll never forget that tournament. Competition
was really close, and it was the kind of tournament
that you always dream of as a little boy. I had to come
from behind to win.
Question: How familiar are you with Logan Martin where
this year’s tournament will be held?
Cochran: I’ve fished two tournaments on that lake
and had several weeks of pre-fishing there, so I have
a lot of confidence. Logan Martin Lake isn’t a
lake that I’ll spend too much time pre-fishing.
I’ll probably fish there for 3 or 4 days before
the tournament. If I’d never fished the lake before,
I’d probably plan to spend two or three weeks
there. But I already have plenty of good ideas on how
I’ll fish, which techniques I’ll use, and
how to best catch bass because I’ve spent plenty
of time on the lake.
Question: August is the most-miserable time of the
year to try to catch bass for most people in the Dog
Days of summer with high skies, high temperatures, plenty
of sun and few clouds. What will be the secret to catching
bass in that tournament, or for that matter, anywhere
in the country under these conditions?
Cochran: Although most anglers call this time in August
the Dog Days of summer, I won’t be fishing during
the Dog Days of summer. For me, there’s no such
thing as a Dog Day. Each day I break up a different
part of the day and try to fish strategically for that
particular time of day under those conditions.
Question: Okay, George, so the gun goes off, and you
race down to the lake where you’ll be fishing.
What are you going to do, and how will you try to catch
Cochran: The first 2 hours of daylight are critical
to anchoring your stringer. I’ll be looking for
a top-water bite because if I get in the right area
and get to fish that top-water bite early, I should
be able to catch three or four nice bass.
Question: What bait will you use?
Cochran: I won the FLW Championship in 2005 on a top-water
bait. So, naturally I’ll be throwing the Strike
King Spit-N-King because I believe it’s one of
the best lures made for hot-summertime early-morning
bass fishing. When you work it right, the Spit-N-King
looks like a minnow, a shad or some other type of baitfish
trying to escape larger predator fish.
Question: What color do you like?
Cochran: I like the shad color Spit-N-King for fishing
Question: How are you working the bait, and why do
you catch so many bass on it?
Cochran: The real key to catching bass on that Spit-N-King
is knowing where to fish it.
Question: Around what kinds of places will you be fishing
the Spit-N-King this year?
Cochran: I’m looking for areas where the bass
have moved up out of deep water during the night to
feed in shallow water. Right at daylight, the bass will
have shad rounded-up and hemmed-up in little bitty pockets
or on points. So, if you’re on the right point
or you’ve found a pocket where the bass have rounded
shad up during the night, then that first hour of daylight,
you often can catch a lot of bass on the Spit-N-King.
Question: How do you fish the Spit-N-King?
Cochran: The instant the bait touches the water, I start
moving it fairly fast toward the boat and across the
top of the water.
Question: How fast are you moving the bait?
Cochran: I let the bass tell me how fast they want the
bait. Some mornings, they like the bait to really chug
and make a heavy spit, and then on other mornings, they
prefer for the bait to start out slow and then speed
it up the further you come with your retrieve. On other
mornings, the bass like you to speed the bait up and
then slow it down like some fish are chasing it. Another
tactic I use, especially on windy days, is to retrieve
the Spit-N-King really fast until I get it right beside
a stump or right at the spot on the point where I expect
the bass to strike. Then, I let the bait sit still for
about 5 seconds before starting to retrieve it really
fast again. Usually, the bass will take the bait after
it’s been sitting dead still in the water for
about 5 seconds.
Question: On what pound-test-line will you be fishing
Cochran: The color of the water determines the size
line that I use. For the FLW Championship in August,
I’ll probably be fishing 12-pound-test line.
Tomorrow: Top-Water Bites Are
Over, Now What?